Enticing doctors’ spouses to small towns

“Well, the mayor has appointed us as the Commission to Attract a New Doctor,” Harry “Butch” Wayssen announced to the group gathered in the city library to deliberate. The fifth member, Marilyn Dosset, was late, waiting for her oatmeal-coconut cookies to finish baking.

“My new friend, Dr. Erick, who has 50 years of experience as a small city doctor, tells me that that we have failed to recruit doctors because we have neglected the wives and if the wives don’t want to live in a small town there is no hope of getting the doctor,” Latimer Osgoode, the ACE hardware man explained.

“That sure makes a lot of sense to me,” agreed Mac Bergenn, owner of Mart Barbers.

“What should we offer wives of doctors to help them want to come to Sandburgg?” asked Latimer.

“It seems that we have promised the prospective doctors everything from an open tab at McKillacuddies to free use of the golf course without success,” mourned Harry Dunphee, the proprietor of the Main Street Pharmacy for the past 45 years.

“We need to up the ante, as they say at Commercial Club meetings,” offered Mac. “We haven’t been thinking big enough.”

“What do you suppose would really put a glow in a wife’s eye?” asked Harry, now serving on his sixth commission to recruit a doctor.

“A stainless steel kitchen with the most modern robots,” Harry continued. “A stainless steel fridge, a stainless steel stove, a stainless steel dishwasher, all equipped with the latest in electronics. That would be a wife’s dream.”

“Before we get carried away,” Latimer cautioned, “we better be careful because some women are insulted when men think of them as kitchen help.”

“Maybe the doctor’s wife is a professional do-good and wants a community life,” Butch thought out loud…

“Well, let’s make her deputy mayor, “proposed Harry. “It wouldn’t cost as much as a stainless steel kitchen.”

“If she’s an animal lover, we could ask her to be Director of Animal Affairs to head up a drive for a petting zoo, an animal farm, a dog park…”

At this point, Harry interrupted Butch’s litany by adding “and horse races…”

Just then, Marilyn breezed into the room, gloating over her plate of warm delicious oatmeal-coconut cookies. Everyone in town agreed that they were the best, especially the four heavy consumers gracing the round table in the library.

“Have you got the problem solved?” she asked as she took her chair at the table. Latimer was unable to talk as his mouth managed a second and third cookie. So Harry spoke up.

“Well, I think we’re well on the way to success. We decided to do more to make our town attractive to the wives of doctors so we talked about a stainless steel kitchen, a social position in government and a director of animal affairs.”

“Have you thought of anything to offer man spouses?” she asked.

“Man spouses????” exclaimed Butch.

“Yes, man spouses,” she reiterated.

“Well, there can’t be very many man spouses,” Mac said defensively.

“According to the University of North Dakota Med School, half of the students in medicine are women,” Marilyn pointed out. “I imagine that some of these lady doctors will be married and will have husbands who won’t want to go to a town without an 18-hole golf course. So what are you going to offer them?”

“Do you suppose a man spouse would be interested in a stainless steel kitchen?” Mac asked.

“Never can tell,” Marilyn responded, taking the last cookie on the plate.

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